Project Testerep studies the evolution of the Flemish seascape (5000 BP – present) | Flanders Marine Institute

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Project Testerep studies the evolution of the Flemish seascape (5000 BP – present)

Added on 2022-04-21
How did the Flemish seascape evolve over the past 5000 years, both on land and at sea? Scientists from Vrije Universiteit Brussel, KU Leuven, HoWest and VLIZ will answer this question in the newly launched project ‘Testerep’. To this end, the interdisciplinary team of researchers focusses on the area of the former Testerep peninsula. Studying the evolution and demise of the peninsula will reveal information on the history of the Flemish seascape and its inhabitants on the one hand, and will offer valuable lessons to tackle current and future challenges such as sealevel rise and coastal management on the other hand.

Landscape reconstruction of Leffinge in the 10th century © Middelkerke

The Flemish coastal region has had a long and complex history. The current state of the landscape is the result of the interaction between natural processes and human interventions. Research into the history of our coastal region has already provided us with a lot of fascinating knowledge. But many questions remain unanswered. For example, how the coastline evolved over the past 5000 years? Which areas were flooded and eroded by storm surges? And which archaeological traces of former habitation and exploitation are still preserved on land and in the sea?

An interdisciplinary team of researchers of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, KU Leuven, HoWest and VLIZ will answer these and more questions in the newly launched project ‘Testerep’. The project owes its name to the former Testerep peninsula, which was once located off the Flemish coast between Nieuwpoort and Bredene, and today is an interesting case study to study the Flemish seascape. Not least because the researchers can build on already collected data and knowledge about the area.

Research into the past environmental conditions and the evolution of the coastal landscape on the one hand and how people adapted to life in the coastal zone on the other hand can teach us a lot about sustainable management of the coastline in the future. Therefore, the scientific data and knowledge acquired within the project will be passed on to various stakeholders from policy, industry and the general public. To this end, the project partners will, among other things, focus strongly on the translation of the acquired knowledge into visualizations and communication products. In this way, the Testerep project will be able to raise awareness among the public about coastal dynamics and vulnerability, stimulate tourism, support heritage management and provide insights for sustainable coastal management in the future.

Project TESTEREP: ‘The Evolution of the Flemish Seascape (5000 BP - present) – TEsterep REconstructed for Policy making and Public’, is part of the Strategic Basic Research (SBO) programme of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) and runs from 1 October 2021 to 30 September 2025.


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